First Coast No More Homeless Pets (FCNMHP) opened the doors to its second location May 9 with a ribbon-cutting event celebrating its new veterinary facility.
Donors and local pet owners were welcomed to the grand opening, where Executive Director Rick DuCharme cut the ribbon with assistance from Dr. Charles Moreland, director of community affairs for Mayor Lenny Curry; Petco National Adoption Program Manager Karen Meader; and major donors Mary Lou Russell and Joseph A. Strasser. Meader presented a check worth $292,500 on behalf of the Petco Foundation in support of the veterinary hospital and FCNMHP’s Super- and Mega-Adoption events.
As part of the celebration, FCNMHP offered a free rabies vaccine and exam to the first 500 clients whose pets carried a city license to receive it. Guests were also treated to a tour of the facility’s Mary Lou Russell Animal Welfare Complex and the Joseph A. Strasser Veterinary Hospital.
The new 10,000-square-foot facility can serve up to 300 pets daily with 12 exam rooms, a dental lab, two surgery suites, a pharmacy, an in-house lab, an intensive care unit, isolation rooms and grooming services.
DuCharme said the new facility can serve triple the number of pets of the organization’s current clinic on Norwood Avenue, and is an important service to bring to an area where few pet-care options exist.
“When you look at the map from I-10 all the way north to I-95, there’s only one other place where people can go for quality pet care,” DuCharme said. “It’s almost a desert for veterinary care. With our type of medicine, we try and do high quality and high volume at a low cost and give owners a variety of options to treat their pets depending on what they can afford.”
Ducharme noted that the new facility makes pet-care services available for approximately 40 percent less than the fees charged by the average veterinarian.
“We’ve realized that people would come to us having only a certain amount of money after visiting other clinics where they were unable to afford a service or a surgery that their pet needed,” he said. “Our services and staff are able to do similar surgeries and procedures for less money. So we hope to save people money and pets’ lives.”
Proceeds from the operation of the veterinary hospital will also go toward other FCNMHP programs, including targeted spay and neuter surgeries, large adoption events and the Jacksonville Pet Food Bank.
Located at 464 Cassat Ave. in Jacksonville, the new facility is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Appointments may be made by calling (904) 425-0005.